As I am entering my 16th graduate-level class, I feel, at times, what is sometimes referred to as “smart.” That is, until I go home and my kindergartner, Spencer, rattles off several parts of the head–in Spanish. Until my high-schooler, Regan, admits that she was unchallenged by her geometry final and tells me that she wishes t had been harder. Geometry. And she wants it to be harder. Until my 7th-grader, Audrey, talks about the short story “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, explaining how awesome it felt to discover (with the help of her English teacher) the underlying theme of the mob mentality and doing things because that is the way they’ve always been done, regardless of how ridiculous that may be. Until my 6th-grader, Elizabeth talks about the life-cycle of rocks told via a clever work of fiction. Huh?
There is talk about the folly of schools and about other countries outscoring our children. People decry our public schools daily. And perhaps they should. We talk about the dumbing down of society and how students seem to be ill-prepared for jobs. These are all legitimate concerns.
However, if my house, I will submit that the brightest bulbs are still taking Flintstone vitamins. When I think about how my critical thinking skills have developed while in school, I am already amazed at the skills and knowledge my kids will have when they have completed their degrees. And I assert again: kids are smarter.